Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?

  Overcoming my fears by facing them  head on is probably the hardest and quite frankly, that whole saying never really made much sense to me.

  The easiest one is finding the good in life, it was put there and it is up to us to ignore it or seek it and fully appreciate it.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?

  Since I absolutely love writing, doodling, drawing, and other random things, buying a stack of notepads would be the perfect thing to do.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.

  My latest "trip" has been tripping and almost falling when fleeing three angry cows, no matter how inviting wading in a creek in a cow pasture sounds, you should always consider the fact that it is called a cow pasture for a reason.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?

  If trapeze counts then I would love to be able to do professional trapeze acts, I have no idea what I would use that talent for but it would be positively delightful to go flying through the air.

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?

  I did not achieve many of those things but I have eaten a ice cream cone, read a book, ate corn on the cob, and if watching my brother and his friend counts, then I have watched a ballgame.

  Nothing else is really on my summer list so I guess I had a pretty good summer.

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?

  I don't really have anything to ask, partly because I don't really pay attention to what is going on in politics. I don't even know who the presidential candidates are.

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?

  Not including church hymns I don't listen to any songs with lyrics. I only listen to classical and  instrumental music. My favorite one would have to be  "Spring Charm" by Adrian Von Ziegler

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  Some minor things I had wanted to do this summer were having a water fight, I never had one but I did wade in the creek for 15 minutes before fleeing for my dear life. I also spent some time at a lake which was a lot of fun. I had wanted to bike on the trail but never did, but I did get to ride here around home. I had wanted to walk through the woods. I didn't ever do that but I did get to walk the trails and soak up all of the beauty of nature. I had wanted to pick lots of raspberries, I didn't, but I did get to pick lots of blueberries at one of the most serene, gorgeous places I know of.

  My point is though I might not have gotten anything done exactly as I wanted to, in a sense I got everything achieved plus more, and that in my opinion was a summer very well spent. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sweet Hungarian Pork Chops

  Mm-m! The smell of dinner drifting through the house is definitely a very comforting thing indeed, and today's meal incorporates fresh veggies in a delightful sauce that covers a bed of noodles and spreads lazily over a luscious pork chop, one can easily imagine how incredible the aromas are!

  Sweet Hungarian Pork Chops

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato chopped
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) chicken broth, divided
2 tbsp sweet hungarian paprika
2 butterflied pork chops
3 tbsp flour
1/3 cup sour cream
6 cups cooked egg noodles ( 6 ounces uncooked )

  Heat the half of the oil in a non-stick skillet and add the onions and the garlic and cook while stirring for two minutes, then to your pan add the tomato, peppers, paprika, and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, cover and simmer on low for five minutes.

   Heat the rest of the olive oil in another non-stick skillet and fry the meat 1 minute on each side. Stuff with a few of the veggies. Bake at 350ยบ for 5 minutes.

  In a small bowl mix together the chicken broth and flour. Bring veggies back to a simmer and stir in your broth/flour mixture. Spoon a little over pork chops and return back to oven for two more minutes.

  Add veggie sauce to noodles and serve with pork chops on top.

  I thought this was absolutely delicious and wouldn't change anything, but garnishing with a parsley sprig or two would elevate the dish's elegance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.

  Our home is sadly not air conditioned so our cooling depends on fans, windows, and plenty of cold drinks.

  I remember when I was a little girl around the age of three and four we used to live in a log house in the Ozarks, we didn't have air conditioning and the hot weather attracted many unpleasant things like snakes, chiggers, ticks, and various other biting creatures. I don't think I ever minded the heat too much because I used to always be playing in the mud, having water fights, and evenings when it was especially hot we used to go to my uncle's house and go swimming in their pool.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?

Can't think of anything.

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?

  Ooh my Mother's Pineapple Fluff , delicious mountains of pineapple pudding with "snowy" whipped topping peaks.

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?

  To be quite honest it was this morning when I woke up to an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.

  Hmm you know those packs of food, craft supplies etc. you might buy that are wrapped in totally hard, clear plastic? Well while trying to rip off that kind of plastic from a pack of erasers I managed to break my nail, injure my finger, and finally pull part of the airtight plastic off just to see another layer underneath.

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?

  I have never been to the Alps but I would most certainly want to go.

 The thought of having a boat ride sounds like fun, though I would be concerned about the possibilty of drowning the entire time.

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?

  I liked saying groovy and far out, just to see my Dad roll his eyes.

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

  We went back to school shopping a little while ago where I had to make the difficult decision what I would buy, and what I sadly had to leave there. I ended up coming home with a big bag full of tablets, pencils, art supplies, and lots of other school supplies.

  I think that even when I graduate from school I shall still go shopping at the back to school sales, a body can never have too many notebooks, office and craft supplies...... Indeed I know.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Strawberry Cream Parfaits

Sometimes a certain smell, or hearing a certain song transports me back in time, but recently it was a certain flavor that did that.

We made a special pudding for dessert and with the first bite I was transported back to when I was a little girl, about four years old. Bare feet standing in our tiny kitchen in our little log house in the Ozarks as my Mom gave me a a Schwan's  Strawberry Sundae Crunch Bars from the freezer compartment of our ancient brown refrigerator. I can even see the bungee cord she used to use to keep the door shut.

Anyway the flavor of this pudding tasted just like I remember those wonderful bars to have tasted.

  Here is the recipe if you would like to try your hand at making this pudding.

  Strawberry Cream Parfaits

1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 package (3.9 oz.) instant strawberry pudding
1 carton (8 oz.) frozen whipped topping, thawed
12-14 golden oreos, crushed

In a small bowl beat your cream cheese, pudding mix, and milk until the mixture has thickened.

Then in parfait cups or large wineglasses layer a tablespoon or so of oreo crumbs,  pudding mixture, the whipped topping, another layer of pudding, more oreo crumbs, and then a dollop of whipped topping on top.


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. When did you last 'swim against the tide'? Explain.

  I am guessing my life is easy since I can not think of any time that I ever swam against the tide.

2. What's the last self-help or self-improvement book you read?

  I don't know if this counts but when I was seven I read a early 1900's manner improvement book for children.

  I remember being fascinated that all children were supposed to leave some food on their plates after every meal, that way the hostess would know that she gave her guests enough food.

3"Tolerance is a tremendous virtue, but the immediate neighbors of tolerance are apathy and weakness." (Sir James Goldsmith) 

Agree or disagree? Discuss. With civility please, because I think we have a good thing going in our very diverse (in geography, age, religion, political persuasion, ethnicity, marital status, upbringing, and cooking abilities) neighborhood here on This Side of the Pond.

  Yes I do agree.

4. What is one of your most vivid memories of the kitchen from your childhood?

  I still remember one summer day as a very little girl my Mom used to love making lots of Jello, and every time she did I was always given some hot Jello liquid with ice cubes as a drink for helping.

5. How did/do your own children's summers compare with your summers as a child? If you're not a parent, answer as it relates to what you've observed about the current generation of children vs. your own childhood.

  I have to say that other children's summers are always frightfully busy with clubs and groups and lots of visiting relatives, my summers on the other hand are definitely more slow-paced, I read, crochet, swing, talk with my best friend and an occasional trampoline visit.

  But in all honesty I am glad that my life is quiet.

6. Tell us what body of water you would most like to be on or near today, and why?

  Oh, I would love to go across the road from my house and wade near our waterfall.

  It seems like a totally fun thing to do on a quietly cloudy day.

7.  Share a favorite song about water, or a favorite song with the word water in it's title, or a favorite song to listen to as you sit beside the water.

Since my favorite music is instrumental, I can't think of any song with water in the title of the lyrics. However this is the piece I would want to listen to as I sit beside the water.

8. Insert your own random thought here

  I know that summer is still pushing forward but I am getting very excited for back to school sales and can not wait to stock up on lots of pretty new tablets and pencils and most definitely crafting supplies.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Patriotic Berry Brownies

  I have always thought that the perfect way to celebrate the "Fourth of July" is to bake a marvelous treat to enjoy with family and friends and so today in honor of the past holiday I made these Patriotic Berry Brownies to be enjoyed with my friends that are visiting today.

  Patriotic Berry Brownies


2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
5 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream layer

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (room temperature)
1 container (8 oz.) cool whip

Patriotic Topping

Strawberry pie filling
Blueberry pie filling
1 container (8 oz.) cool whip

  For the brownies mix together all the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients and beat until smooth and the egg whites thoroughly incorporated.  Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely before adding the next layer.

  For the cream layer beat together the cream cheese and cool whip until creamy, spoon onto the brownie layer and using a butter knife the smoothing process is made much easier.

  And finally for the Patriotic topping. Using a tooth pick mark your cream layer into fourths, then spoon a little blueberry filling into the top left corner and fill it making sure not to spoon and into the other 3/4's of the pan, then take your strawberry filling and spread the other 3/4's of the cream with the strawberry filling. Finally take a Zip-Lock bag and spoon all the cool whip into it. Using a pair of scissors cut off one of the bottom corners.  Carefully pipe white rows of cool whip  horizontally across the red and then pipe little white dots across the blue corner. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  And just a friendly warning for all of you. This is what your brownie bars will look like if you use "Reddi-Whip" or another untrustworthy spray whipped cream like I did today.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. On Saturday July 4th America celebrates her Independence. (If you're not American,  feel free to answer in terms of a national holiday in your own country) What is your favorite thing about the day? Your favorite food on the 4th? Do you fly a flag at your house? Fireworks-yay or nay? Any special plans this year?

  I absolutely love the preparing of special foods for the Fourth of  July and often it is red, white, and blue themed pudding.

  I do love fireworks very much but unfortunately where I live fireworks are banned so I have to live without them.

2. What's something you recently got for free?

  I don't know if this counts but while My Mom, Diane, and I cleaned out our storeroom I became the very happy owner of three large bags of scrap fabric!

3.  The Statue of Liberty, The Liberty Bell, The Washington Monument, or Mount many on the list have you seen? What is your favorite historical American monument, and why?

  I have sadly seen none of these places but I would love to one day be able to see Mount Rushmore, I think that the reason for that being my favorite is simply because of its amazing construction.

4. When it comes to the news are you more ostrich (stick my head in the sand) or hog (they have room to take a whole lot in)? How much attention have you given the recent news reports regarding ISIS and the acts of terror they've perpetrated against those who do not share their beliefs or support their cause?

  I am an ostrich, I don't really pay attention to what is slathered across the news, I just accept the fact that my Heavenly Father is holding me close.

5. We're talking plain ice cream...vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry? Choose one.

  Mm! definitely strawberry, I used to like chocolate best but after getting some tummy troubles I find it hard to enjoy chocolate much anymore.

6. Share a song you love containing the word 'stars' in the lyrics or title?

  I love the ever faithful Christmas song "We Three Kings" It seems to always make me feel in the Christmas Spirit every time I listen to it, even in summer.

7. Describe and/or say goodbye to June with an acrostic

  Jittery about summer
  Understanding that it rains a lot
  Noticing the marvelous things Summer brings
  Enjoyed every moment

8.  Insert your own random thought here. 

  As a kid I used to dream about having a swing, quite often I would try to make my own, by using a hunk of wood, a long rope, and a tree I would set out to make one, but every time I tried to make  my own swing I would resolve to never again be that gullible to childhood dreams because the very second that the wood pulled loose while in mid flight I realized it wouldn't work.

  Yesterday while strolling outside I noticed a flat smooth piece of wood and a long rope laying close by, with the feeling of immense immaturity I grabbed those objects and a pail to stand  on and started trying to loop the rope over a sturdy tree branch.

    I realize some people scream when they are frustrated, or even cry, but with me the hilarity of a frustrating situation makes me laugh. After spending literally half an hour trying to swing the rope over a branch (while laughing) I finally got it pulled over and started to knot the rope onto the board. Before long I had an incredibly rustic looking swing hanging on that tree and I have to admit the older you get the smarter you become about your pioneer swing knotting techniques, of course with every crazy project that I make there is always one flaw, my swing for example can only be swung sideways unless you want to crash into the tree head on.

  My point is, that I am never too old to be crazily immature.